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New program targets campus drinking

  |   March 11, 2003 at 1:09 PM
WASHINGTON, March 11 (UPI) -- A group of distillers has come up with a second generation of a campaign to fight misuse of alcohol on the nation's college campuses, it was announced Tuesday.

The campaign centers around a CD-ROM entitled Alcohol 101-plus, that presents interactive information on alcohol and its dangers. It even provides prizes such as DVDs and music CDs for success in the game portion.

Former Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson appeared at the news conference to announce the campaign, which costs more than $1 million.

He said when he first began working on a college campus, he had been told the biggest problem was drugs, but he found that to be false.

"The biggest problem on campuses is not drugs. The biggest problem is alcohol," Thompson said.

He said he found the biggest advantage of the CD is the information included, which not only useful for students to have, but even more for those trying to help students.

Former Congresswoman Susan Molinari, chairman of the sponsoring Century Council, conducted the news conference.

She said the number of students who drink and the number of fatalities from drinking has dropped slightly over the last decade, but she said "those students who drink, drink more."

Constantine "Deno" Curris, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, agreed that the overall problem may be getting worse.

"While over 20 percent do not use alcoholic beverages, the problems among the 80 percent who do, drink more extensively, and have developed a subculture which is glorified and become more widespread," Curris said.

A major portion of the CD-ROM is set on a virtual college campus and largest at-risk populations of the student body -- sororities and fraternities, freshmen, student athletes and past offenders.

Through interactive video scenarios, uses have a chance to make decisions for virtual characters.

Users can visit a first-year dormitory and choose whether the freshman character takes a drink, or visit an off-campus bar and decide whether the basketball star should take a drink.

When the wrong decision is chosen, students are presented with the consequences.

The CD-ROM was developed with the help of colleges and universities by the Century Council, which includes Allied Domecq Sprits & Wine North America, Bacardi U.S.A., Brown-Forman, DOIAGEO, Future Brands LLC and Pernod Ricard USA.

It is available free of charge to colleges and universities.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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